Castle Roland

Somerset Farm

by Jamie Haze

In Progress

Chapter 38

Posted: 12 Mar 15


Jamie Haze

Tom-tom raced across the ramp as soon as it was extended to the Doog. Dieter saw him coming and turned his body to the side at the last minute to prevent injury to his nuts and/or embarrassment. Tom-tom clutched his pencil in one hand and the small pad of paper in the other. Mutt and Jeff, the Macaw and Toucan circled the dock area squawking their irritation at not being able to land on Tom-tom while he was hugging Dieter. Each hugged the other as if they were reunited after weeks of separation instead of just the best part of one day.

"Hi Tommy!" Dieter exclaimed with a giggle. He saw the birds begin their final approach from the corner of his eye. Ready or not they were going to land. He stooped down quickly and straight-armed Tom-tom away so his back was to the birds. "Prepare for incoming!" He shouted then ducked down. Both birds back flapped furiously at the last second to slow themselves. Mutt settled on Tom-tom's right shoulder, while Jeff less gracefully clutched the back of his head and tipped forward to bang his banana beak on Tom-tom's head to regain his balance. Both birds fluffed their feathers as they closed their wings. Jeff hopped down to Tom-tom's left shoulder, and then both began stroking their respective sides of the boy's head in welcome. Tom-tom handed his pad and pencil over to Dieter so he could gently work his fingers into birds' breast and neck feathers at the same time.

Dieter's attention was diverted to the gangway when the thirteen other boys marched off the Doog by height, the shortest first, using a modified goose step in difference to their bare feet. Kyle and Mark the tallest, were last, each lugged a heavy net sack full of conch. Kyle halted the boys with a shout, and then commanded a right turn where they all stood at attention. Tom-tom raised an index finger to Dieter, and pointed to the end of the line while he ran. "BILLIE SLOW DOWN GODDAMNIT" Mutt complained for both birds as they were jounced along with their wings extended for balance. "FUCK ME!" The bird screamed after Tom-tom drew himself up at attention to be first in the line of boys since he was the shortest of them.

The Doog's two young permanent crewmen stood at attention flanking the open hatch. They made impressive sentinels dressed in dark muscular tans. They sucked in their guts further when Curt appeared in the opening, wearing only a battered cap, resplendent with tarnished scrambled eggs on the bill and deck shoes. Everyone in formation stopped laughing at Tom-tom and the birds and saluted more of or less smartly with the crewman as Curt walked sedately down the formation. He stopped in front of one boy in the middle of the line and frowned before he smiled. "I think you want your OTHER right hand don't you?" He asked casually. The boy rolled his eyes up, to look at the offending left hand an inch above his eyebrow as if it belonged to someone else, before he switched hands with a straight face, ignoring the snickers that trickled from his friends right and left. When Curt got to the end of the line he winked at Tom-tom then reached a finger out to scratch Mutt's breast, then pulled it away quickly when the bird gave the finger a baleful one eyed stare and opened its beak. He executed a casual about face and returned his crews' salute. "Submariners! Dismissed!" he barked.

The boys surrounded Curt asking him how they did and when they could sail with Capitan Curt again before they started running for their golf carts. "Just a fuckin' minute here guys," Kyle stopped them in their tracks. "Capitan Curt said we got to clean these fuckin' shells. WE is all of us, not just Mark and me an' that's a fuckin' Order!" He added with authority while Mark nodded his agreement. Both boys emptied their sacks where they stood.

Dieter grinned and whispered to Wally, the dock master. Wally giggled and motioned to his half dozen workers. One of them dragged a hose out to wet down the dock around the pile of conch. "Okay guys, everyone gather around your catch. Sit down and watch Wally and his boys closely. They're going to show you how to clean these beauties. Are we going to have a seafood feast for dinner tonight or what?" The boys sat down reluctantly and eyed the conch dubiously. Their attention switched to Wally's, then his crews' heavy knives that appeared from nowhere. Each took a shell, flipped it around a certain way then hacked or pounded a hole in the thick shell just big enough for the blades of their knives. They wiggled them and the animal dropped from its protective covering. The whole process took seconds.

"Fuck me!" Kyle made a face at the messes on the dock.

"FUCK ME!" Mutt agreed as he and Jeff departed Tom-tom's shoulders to perch and watch from the top of the sub's conning tower.

"Yeah, we ain't eatin' that shit." Mark spoke for them all.

The loudest complainers were the first to attempt to clean a conch. Shell and guts flew. The learning experience went faster after one of the black boys brought a claw hammer to the class, but the volume of flying debris also increased until all the white boys were fairly well spattered. Wally showed them how to separate the tough muscled foot; the editable part of the creature from the actual guts, then washed it until it resembled white fish. The result looked far more palatable as he put in a bucket. One of the young blacks asked Dieter, who stayed well out of range with Curt, if they could strip to keep their clothes clean. Dieter looked down at himself and shrugged. After the blacks got naked they sat among the boys and concentrated on teaching the difficult skill of cleaning conch. The class turned into a party with lots of laughter and plenty of good-natured ridicule between the boys, black and white.

Curt and Dieter watched from a safe distance, away from flying shards of broken shell. Curt glanced down, "Is that Tom-tom's?" He pointed to the small spring bound pad Dieter held.

"Yes, has he been using it to talk to you? I wish I'd thought of it myself. You should have seen the look he gave me when I asked him if he could read. The Doctor is waiting for them in the big house; I hope his silence isn't permanent."

Curt nodded, "The dolphin pod stopped by to visit. The boys went wild. Tom-tom, well maybe you should just read what happened between Rocket and him," he grinned.

Dieter flipped the pad open. Tom-tom wrote the last page to Dieter. He looked up when he finished. Tom-tom was looking at him hopefully, willing him to agree to diving lessons the next morning. When Dieter nodded Tom-tom broke into a radiant smile before he touched Charlie's shoulder, then Mark's knee. They were sitting together sharing a borrowed knife since the three of them were best friends and had been captives together. "Holy shit, that's four of us for the four of them." Curt looked puzzled; "Doug introduced me to Rocket before they left." He blushed through his dark complexion then corrected his comment, "Rather he offered me as a substitute until he could get back here from America."

"Holy shit, you want to use the Doog?" Curt asked, but before Dieter could answer he explained with a red face that he would document everything on videotape from the sub and when Billy returned he could edit everything to make a copy for the Master. "And Billie gave me a copy of the last encounters," he tossed a smile and a thumb at his crewmen. "We watch it together in our bunk. Billie's bringing back the latest digital recording stuff. He better get here before our tape's worn out, or I am," he added with a pleased sigh.

"Yeah that's cool but how do you plan to get away from the dock without all the other kids?" Dieter wanted to know.

Curt grinned, "Simple, I'll order them to do something else. Maybe a couple of Wally's crew can take them out in the dive boat and teach them all to dive, or take them fishing, anything to keep them busy in a structured kind of way. When they first got on board they were into everything, asking questions and even playing with the controls just to see what would happen. They pissed me off and scared me too if you want the truth. They're kids at heart even if some of them act and talk like they're forty sometimes. We were still surfaced but still no one throws switches on my boat just to see what happens. I ordered everyone to paste their asses on a seat somewhere on the observation deck, and if anyone moved without permission, he'd get his ass stuffed in the torpedo tube and ejected."

Dieter giggled, "Tell me the Master didn't get that option."

"Shit no, but they don't know that. Some of the younger ones are still looking around for the tube. I pointed out the air lock hatch, which is always dogged closed, so they aren't sure. When we stopped in a cove for lunch and a swim, everyone wanted to get on deck first of course, so I had them stand at attention, lined them up by size and had them march up and out. Being in my navy got to be a game and I had them practice marching on deck a little. They wanted to impress you when we got back so we worked out this orderly exit. Best you tell them you ARE impressed." Curt warned as an altercation broke out around the pile of empty shells.

The whole gang started to help with cleaning the dock, but balked when a wheelbarrow appeared to haul the shells to the developing breakwater at the high tide line at the side of the dock where no one walked. They all wanted to keep the shells, but only the number each collected from the bottom, no more, but no less and three or four boys couldn't swim, so couldn't claim ownership of any. The problem was that a third or more of the shells were nothing more than large pieces, having been smashed trying to knock a hole in the proper place. No one wanted those, just the whole ones, sans the recent occupant.

Curt grinned, "Excuse me Dieter, it's time to introduce my crew to Wally's pets at the end of the dock." He picked up the pail of conch guts, called the boys to attention in formation, and marched them to the long table built on the most distant end of the tee, the fish cleaning station. He dumped the bucket after making sure everyone had a good view of the water, clear and apparently void of life since they could see the bottom. The water started to boil with fish competing for the snack, including barracuda, one at least six feet long, but mostly large and always voracious jacks. When the food was gone, the feeding frenzy ended and fish disappeared back under the dock structure as quickly as they appeared.

Kyle looked at the others' faces and grinned, "You tryin' to tell us something ain't you Captain? Like maybe argue too much and just like that movie where the Mafia boss says, 'Let him swim with the fishes.' Is that the lesson?"

Curt nodded and walked back to where Dieter and Wally were standing, trying not to laugh. The boys followed quietly and lined up near the pile of shells. Each picked a shell then got back in line. They quickly discovered that two were all they could hold and started small piles along the dock. When all the best were chosen, the boys started carrying their collections to their golf carts. Dieter stopped them.

"Okay, now you've got them, what are you going to do with them?"

Tom-tom and Charlie appeared to be talking together, Tom-tom's lips were moving, and his facial expression was hopeful or questioning. Charlie nodded, "We're going to line the path to our cottages with ours. Good idea Tom-tom."

Dieter knelt by them, "How come you talk to Charlie but no one else? Why won't you talk to me?" Dieter sounded hurt or frustrated.

Charlie answered quickly for Tom-tom, "He doesn't talk to anyone. He moves his lips and I can see what he says. Kevin can do it too. We weren't always working you know, we had a lot of down time, and we learned. Its easy and faster than him writing everything."

Then it was Tom-tom's turn to look hurt, his lips moved slowly and distinctly. His eyes held Dieter's. Dieter understood, but Charlie spoke the words anyway, "You don't trust me. You think I'm holding out on you? I would talk if I could." Tom-tom chopped his neck with the side of his hand. His lips moved faster. Charlie nodded, "Shit you never told me that before." He turned to Dieter, "He says he got hit in the throat and his voice box is broke." Tom-tom touched Charlie's arm to get his attention. Tom-tom wore a small smile while he said something more. Charlie rolled his eyes and exploded in a giggle. "Well fuck you too professor! Okay, BROKEN! There, you happy now? The only guy I know who can't talk and HE corrects my English! Can you beat that?"

Dieter grinned and mouthed the words; "I'm sorry." Then again halted the guys trying to get by him with their precious shells. "Hold on guys damn it. Before you take them anywhere wash and brush the outside before that crap dries on them. Then take them all to the beach and leave them there in the sun for a week or so. There's still part of the animal in there that has to dry out or be eaten by sand crabs plus they'll bleach clean too." Tom-tom, Charlie and Kevin held a silent conference, then they helped each other scrub their shells, and then piled them all into the back of Dieter's truck.

Kevin looked around to be sure he wasn't overheard, "Do you think it's true that them dolphin can sorta talk to Tom-tom and that they want to what they call breed with us? I guess breed means just fuck huh?"

Dieter didn't answer directly, "Maybe you and Charlie better come over to our cottage for a chat after we dump your shells out on the beach."

Kevin's eyes dropped to Dieter's cock, "Yeah!"

Tom-tom grinned and wagged his finger at Kevin while his lips moved rapidly. Kevin shrugged and giggled, "So? You said we're the three musketeers remember? That's 'All for one and one for all,'" he quoted, "AND share and share alike too. He's a stud, you got him last night you little slut, the very first night, now you got to share him."

"Hey don't I get a say in this?" Dieter asked with a grin.

"Sure you do Dieter, you get to decide who's first and how you want to do it 'cause you're the boss of the whole island, but I bet you ain't got the will power to say no," Kevin leered and attempted a tactile inspection. Dieter blushed and slapped his hand away. "Okay for now, just remember you got to sleep sometime," he added and ran for his cart.

Tom-tom started to get in the driver's side of the truck, but stopped to look around, grinned and raised his fingers to his mouth. His piercing whistle got everyone's attention. He and Dieter both ducked at the sound of beating wings, clearing the landing for Mutt and Jeff on the back of the seat. Tom-tom's whistle also signaled the mass exodus from the dock. The boys attempted to turn their carts at the same time resulting in instant gridlock.

Dieter rolled his eyes and looked back, "From now on we convoy in formation in the same order you guys got off the Doog!" He shouted over the arguments about right-of-way. "One more word from anyone and they stop driving for a week and start running! That means running too, no riding with a buddy! Is that clear?"

There was a chorus of, "Yes Sir!" Dieter motioned Tom-tom forward with a hand signal like a Calvary commander without looking back. "FUCK ME! BILLY! SLOW DOWN!" Mutt squawked, and then said in a more famine voice; Billie's, "I'M RIGHT HERE LOVE, DON'T SHOUT!"

Dieter turned in his seat and laughed, "Say TOMMY!" He enunciated clearly, then kept repeating Tommy during the ride to the beach while he tapped Tommy on the shoulder or ran his fingers through his wispy fine red-gold hair and caressed the boy's cheek with the back of his hand. Tommy leaned into Dieter's open show of gentle affection. Mutt remained silent but looked between Dieter and Tommy. Dieter told Tommy where to stop on the beach when he saw a group of sand crab tunnels. Tommy looked down at his lap then up at Dieter with a grin and raised eyebrow. Dieter chuckled, "OOPS! Sorry about that, I wasn't thinking. I shouldn't be touching you like that here in public."

Mutt cocked his head, "OOPS! OOPS! HARDON! HARDON! HARDON!" the bird announced to the world, again mimicking Billie, causing Tommy and Dieter to blush together.

"Sit tight until it goes away, we'll get the shells." Dieter told Tommy in a low voice while Tommy's hands went to his lap to cover himself. Tommy nodded red-faced and eyed Mutt with a baleful stare. The big red bird hopped to the boy's shoulder and made a series of swooping nods. Dieter got out of the truck and started carrying shells. The boys stopped their carts behind the truck and made suggestive playful comments and appreciative catcalls when they saw Dieter semi-erect after Charlie and Kevin called their attention to the problem by pointing and laughing.

Charlie tugged at Tommy's arm, "Come on and help, just ignore them jealous assholes. Hardons happen, just look at Kevin lookin' at the boss," he giggled, "and he's sixteen."

After everyone had their shell collections spotted around the beach and carefully marked by forming an initial, a geometric pattern or with coconuts, Dieter led the way into the water for a swim and to wash most of the conch gut spatters off their bodies. Horseplay with him and washing each other quickly turned to suggestive caresses before he could get free and call them back to the beach. He ignored the resulting erections, either proudly or shyly displayed.

"Okay sailors, this is the drill from tonight on if you're on shore. Dinner will be served at six-thirty sharp. You'll find snack food and soft drinks in the cottages. Dinner dress will always be shorts and a shirt. You will be served because we have lots of workers here with nothing to do. You will eat like gentlemen, that means slobs and animals will be excused from the table as soon as they're caught. Your laundry has been returned, but it's all mixed up so you'll have to sort it out. Each cottage now has a mountain of towels, and you will enjoy maid service so you don't have to worry about cleaning, but the slob rule applies to your cottages too. Cottage commanders have the right to toss anyone for cause, if you get thrown out, plan on spending the night alone on the terrace fighting off mosquitoes." He grinned, "I guess I'll be the court of appeals if anyone thinks they're being punished unfairly. I'll decide each case one-week after the incident, but the punishment continues in the interim."

"Shit, who's wants to be punished a week while they wait?" Someone asked.

Dieter giggled as he climbed in his truck, "My thought exactly," he called back to the group.

Tommy tromped the accelerator intentionally. The truck lurched forward and Mutt and Jeff nearly lost their perch. "FUCK ME! FUCK ME! SLOW DOWN BILLY GODDAMNIT!" Mutt scolded legitimately.

Dieter laughed, "TOMMY! TOMMY! SLOW DOWN GODDAMNIT!" He shouted and laughed during the short trip to the cottage.

Mutt cocked his head listening to Dieter shout. Then when Tommy parked by the cottage he issued a couple of ear piercing whistles like Tommy's when he called them to the truck on the dock. "TOMMY! TOMMY!" he screamed then rubbed his head against Tommy's.

Tommy snapped his fingers and reached under the seat. He brought out a plastic sack and opened it showing the birds a box of strawberries and two over-ripe peaches. Dieter eyed the food treasures, "Shit, and I thought Billie spoiled them. I suppose Miss Emma gave you those?" Tommy looked quizzical, Dieter explained, "Miss Emma's the cook, actually she's the housekeeper too. Napoleon could have taken lessons from her when it comes to commanding her staff. She must love you already too, or she'd never give you imported fruit to feed these birdbrains."

Mutt and Jeff took to their wings squawking excitedly. Tommy pointed over the house absently in the direction of their perch outside the bedroom. The birds took off around the house. Tommy heard just one word; too. He put the fruit on the truck seat, found his forgotten pad and pencil and wrote furiously in block letters, using two pages. He held up the pad so Dieter could read what he printed on the first page while he mouthed the words; TOO? YOU LOVE ME TOO?

Dieter knelt and sat on his heels. He gathered Tommy into his arms. "Yes Tommy I do." He gave Tommy a fatherly peck on the cheek and hugged him close. Tommy pulled his head back and laughed with tears running down his cheeks. His return kiss was fiercely applied to Dieter's smiling lips. His tongue opened Dieter's mouth and stayed there until both of them breathed noisily from their noses. Tommy pulled away long enough to flip the page of his pad. He held it up to Dieter's eyes, so close he had trouble focusing on the large letters; I LOVE YOU DAD!!!

Dieter stood up lifting Tommy easily off his feet. The birds interrupted their reveries. Jeff's overwhelming cries echoed around the island, while the boys in their nearby cottages could hear Mutt's extensive vocabulary of curse words. Dieter bent so Tommy could reach the sack of fruit. "You have to feed them first, then my son you feed me, with every drop you have." Tommy nodded, laughed, struggled free and ran; he pulled Dieter by the hand into and through the house to the terrace. Dieter jammed the peaches on two convenient spikes normally used for mangoes while Tommy shared out the strawberries equally into the birds' bowls. Mutt reached into his bowl with his beak, gently removed a strawberry and transferred it to a clawed foot and ate until there wasn't enough to hold, then repeated the process. Jeff cocked his head looking into his bowl, then selected a berry with his beak, held it up without crushing it and quickly manipulated it as if the two halves of his banana beak were fingers until the small green cap faced out. When he closed his unique mouth, the cap dropped to the ground, and the soft fruit disappeared with a gulp.

Tommy was so enthralled he temporarily forgot about the imminent sex bout. Dieter was content to stand behind him and hold the boy's small body against his legs while they watched the birds feast, but do so with amazing decorum. Dieter began a soft litany, "Love Tommy," repeatedly hoping Mutt would connect the two words since Billie called him Love about half the time and it was already in the bird's vocabulary. The birds used small noises to voice their appreciation of the rare food treats while they continued to eat.

Dieter wrapped his arms around Tommy and bent forward so he could see his face. He took a deep breath, "I talked to Billie today on the computer. We've loved each other since we met in Nassau. I asked him to marry me because of you. I told him all about you, some, the little I know of what you've been through. We'd like to adopt you if you'll have us. You'll be safe and loved more than any two natural parents. Billie's already worrying about you going on dates and staying out past curfew." He giggled, "Billie's very feminine when he wants to be, but recently he discovered he can be very much a man."

Tommy tipped his head back and rolled his eyes up to look at Dieter's face, he looked hopeful, but wasn't smiling. He raised his pad and wrote, "Not because you feel sorry for me?"

Dieter nodded slightly, "Yes sorry and sad that you didn't come to me, to us sooner before you had to suffer like you have. I don't pity you. I fell in love with you when you were asleep in my arms; the second Gregor gave you to me. I wanted you for my son that instant, I didn't dream of sex with you which is why you woke up on the sofa, not in a cottage with your friends, and certainly not in my bed." Dieter hugged Tommy tighter. "I know you thought I was Gregor that first time, and I thought I was loving Billie. If I'd known I would have tossed you right back on the sofa." He giggled softly and continued, "Now I'm delighted we can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, unless you want to. If you do, tell me, you can still be our son and find friends your own age or any age."

"Can I still thank Gregor? I have nothing else to a thank you gift except my body. I NEED to thank him. O.K.?" Tommy wrote quickly in a scrawl, and held it up for Dieter to read.

Dieter chuckled and nodded, "Of course you can thank him that way if you wish, but I think you might have to sneak up on him just like you did me. You don't have to answer now. It may be impossible; you might have family you want to get back to. If you do, we'll move heaven and earth to see that you get home safe and sound."

Tommy wrote a few words quickly, "I think I am home DAD!!!"

Don Thomas' funeral procession from the rancho chapel to the small cemetery sited on a knoll a quarter mile away over looking the roof tops of the sprawling hacienda seemed endless. The cemetery was dominated by a ponderous mausoleum built to house the remains of untold generations of the Del la Varga dynasty, which the builder imagined would continue for centuries.

Toby and Terry followed Don Thomas's casket closely and mourned both his passing and that of the Del la Varga name and discussed correcting the last point by legally changing their names. This conversation went on as they walked together holding hands and without uttering a word. Diego, the twins new found half brother walked beside them under protest since he was not related to the Don in any way. They told him happily that their grandfather would have welcomed him into the family as a grandson had he known of Diego's relationship to them, so they insisted.

Pepe, with his family and Patrick followed the brothers. Next in the slow parade were all the boys, the twins friends with their security contingent sprinkled among them. Doug walked using his crutches, flanked by Buck watching Doug's face closely for signs of strain, and by David and Noah, who were ready to carry Doug despite his protests if Buck signaled them. Doug had already given his wheelchair to Charlie and was determined that he would never sit in one again, or be carried either. He maintained a suitable expression for the sad occasion and if he was in pain, he didn't allow it to show.

The boys' parents and Anton were next in line. This group was out numbered by their bodyguards, between the combined forces of Bucky's and Anton's. Gregor and Meesha walked on either side of Anton ready to steady him if he stumbled. They were so close they impeded his progress until he connected with their shins in one sweeping arc of his cane. The Dobermans followed on Anton's heels as closely as they dared after he frowned back at them plus they brought four additional men with them from Europe. Evan managed to be everywhere, one second in front of his grandfather asking if he was okay, and the next off to check on Doug, or attempt to push Charlie's chair, so Herman or Hans took turns following him.

Next in the long column were the Don's closest retainers, life long residents of his ranchos, the vineyards, the winery and his other properties, those who grew up with him to become his most highly trusted managers and servants wherever he was in residence. This group also included the sons and daughters and even grandchildren who were slowly replacing their parents and grandparents as the Don's servants and unexpectedly would soon serve the young Dons.

Last in the cort├Ęge were business associates, politicians, neighbors and acquaintances. The last group outnumbered the rest, four or five to one. Neither Pepe nor Patrick had ever planned and executed what quickly became a state funeral, or any funeral before and in the widely published obituary, they mentioned only the day, time and place where the high mass was to be held, and neglected to state that the service was to be private. The first inkling they had that there were to be additional mourners occurred when they received no less than three inquiries about space for landing helicopters safely. Pepe hurriedly cleared a paddock close to the garden, then mowed large widely spaced circles in the pasture grass to serve as temporary landing pads. Patrick wondered out loud about how many others might arrive by car. His musing was answered when the gates had to be thrown open two hours before the funeral when traffic began to back up on the public road. Snoopy was pressed into service to scan the unsuspecting vehicles in the infrared mode using extreme magnification to be certain the cars contained no one other than the obvious occupants.

The capacity of the chapel was limited to one hundred and when that number was reached, the rest had to be content to wait outside and listen to the service on speakers. This number included all of the ranch residents plus those visiting from other properties and most of the uninvited guests. These souls were more than welcome to join the cortege, but most opted to either find a good spot to watch the interment near the mausoleum or simply line the route, a narrow gravel road and watch as it passed.

Early that morning when the twins and most of the other boys were heading in mass for the dinning room and breakfast, the twins recognized the guard posted at the beginning of the guestroom wing. "Vincent!" The twins sang together, "Remember us?" They giggled together. Toby continued, "Do you still carry rubber gloves?"

Vincent nodded and patted a coat pocket, "Always, I got to be prepared. They come in handy now and then don't they?" He laughed with them before he remembered the solemn occasion, the reason he was in their home, and sobered, then offered his sincere condolences. The twins looked at each other while Vincent talked, admired his sincerity, complete with briefly teary eyes. Toby thanked him.

Terry whispered in Buck's ear, "He's the cool dude that searched our dear stepmother's twat while we watched and found her stash of diamonds. He works for you out here and we want to hire him to be our bodyguard. Patrick already told us we need them now just like you guys. Is it all right if we steal him?"

Buck giggled and shrugged, "Sure if he wants to, ask him."

Vincent looked shocked when Toby did just that in mid sentence. He looked at Buck, "I don't know, do you think your father will mind? I like my job and leaving him sounds disloyal; I wouldn't want him getting mad at me. Quitting some jobs ain't easy."

Buck shrugged, "He'll be sorry to lose you, but he'll understand. Besides you'll be seeing him and all of us if you work for the Fair brothers because we all go to school together."

Vincent looked relieved before he turned enthusiastic, "Okay then!" He grinned at the twins, "I liked you two guys from the minute you shut your stepmother's big yap with your fist in her gut, that was righteous. I'll just give two weeks notice to Will and Joe as soon as I see them."

Buck shook his head, "Just start now. Come on, we're going to breakfast. Are you hungry?"

Vincent backed up a step, "I can always eat, but I can't leave my post here. If I did without a replacement," he paled when he considered the consequences.

"See them?" Buck's eyes twinkled.

"Yeah, they're not up yet. Ah, I guess Will has jet lag," Vincent added quickly. He'd seen the looks Will and Joe shared with each other and their matching rings. He knew the score and remained protective especially since they'd arranged the castration of the twins' father for the old Don. Whatever their tastes, they were true professionals and his superiors.

Buck did a quick about face, "Come on guys, I just noticed, we don't have a single bodyguard with us. They must be having a meeting. Let's go find them."

Evan darted forward, "I know which room. I saw Gregor follow them last night." He put his hand on a doorknob and whispered loudly, "When I open the door, we'll get 'em. Everyone jump them on the bed."

Vincent followed them, pleading futilely and mourning his own demise to Doug, Diego and Charlie at the rear of the pack. "Me and my big mouth. I won't have to resign they'll fire me before or after they kill me."

Doug giggled, "Hey chill out Vincent, they're just in there fucking around. They're all as horny as we are in the morning, but I think as you get older you just wake up later."

The morning quiet was shattered by shouts and laughter as the boys piled into the room, followed by gruff protests, more adult laughter and one girlish scream. Vincent looked startled, "They got a broad in there! How'd they manage that?"

Doug shrugged, "That would be Billie in his drag mode." He looked at Diego and Charlie, "Hey you have to see Billie, he and Will are hung the same. I wonder who was on the bottom?" He mused while he stopped at the door and motioned Diego to push Charlie in first, before he herded Vincent in using a crutch.

The bedlam that greeted Vincent left him speechless and bug eyed. Everyone was wrestling everyone else, on the floor and bed, there were no teams except the older guys were naked and the boys were dressed, at least temporarily. Buck regretfully called a halt to the fun before anyone got too serious in difference to the twins and the impending funeral and while the boys remained mostly clothed, or he was. Will held him in a bear hug with his feet dangling and Joe worked to depant him avoiding his kicks easily. "Okay, okay, next time we'll try to remember to knock. We just stopped in to tell you Vincent is resigning effective immediately so he can go to breakfast with us, and do some serious body guarding of his new employers, the Fair brothers." He kicked futilely at Joe's hands as Joe pulled his shorts over his gym shoes. "Damn it, why do you guys always pick on me?"

"Because you're the one always starting trouble." Will answered as he dropped Buck then ignored him to grin at Vincent who remained standing in the doorway statue-like. "So you think you can stand being around this bunch of queers?" Toby and Terry were trying to pull the sheet Billie wore like a toga out of his clutches so Diego and Charlie could see him naked. Billie was laughing too hard to scream in alto; his cries came out in a rich male tenor. Will reached out quickly and helped the twins so he could wrap the sheet around his own body.

"I, I, didn't realize, I mean no one can tell. I guess it doesn't matter what anyone does behind closed doors, my job is the keep 'em safe from the outside right?"

Patrick's head appeared over Vincent's shoulder, "There ye be! I shoulda known." He attempted to push passed Vincent, but Vincent didn't budge, and in pushing Patrick discovered that the protrusions that made Vincent's coat jacket lumpy were due to a small arsenal of weapons. "Step aside Sir, I've no interest in harmin' any you're guardin' just them two scamps on the bed with Billie who best have all zippers zipped an' buttons buttoned by the time I get to 'em or else." Each time Patrick tried to squeeze by on one side Vincent moved slightly in that direction.

"They ain't doing nothing but having some rough house Pops, working up an appitite for breakfast, right boys?" Vincent said protectively, already assuming his new roll.

Everyone started laughing at Patrick's expression and red face. The twins got off the bed quickly and straightened their clothing. Joe explained just as quickly. Patrick's color returned to normal and Vincent stepped aside after he apologized. "Apology accepted and welcome to the family," Patrick shook Vincent's hand enthusiastically. He looked up at Vincent and grinned, "I be most lucky we be on the same side. I was about to go to fists with ye. I know I wouldn'a won but it would'a been a grand brawl."

Vincent walked behind the twins, Diego, Pepe and Patrick in the cortege. Like the other guards his eyes were everywhere and on everyone who lined the route. After the coffin was placed on the catafalque outside the mausoleum and the priest began the interment service, he started to inventory the closest onlookers surrounding the front of the structure. Some of the men were better dressed indicating that they were outsiders, friends or business associates of the late Don Thomas. Some were accompanied by women, probably wives, they were well dressed but unveiled and only semi-interested in the proceedings. He was able to discount the old Don's obvious workers since majority of the men looked Hispanic and few of the men wore jackets, opting for a white shirt and black tie. Their women wore simple black dresses; some were veiled and most had firm grips on one or two children or carried one, they were families and without exception the adults were legitimately mourning the loss of their beloved employer.

Vincent's eyes kept returning to one woman who appeared to be unaccompanied. She was wearing an ankle length black dress; a broad brimmed hat and a short heavy veil covered her face. The woman's body appeared to be racked with sobbing and she frequently lifted a tissue to her nose under the veil. Each time she lifted or lowered her hand it sparkled in the sunlight. It appeared to Vincent that she was wearing several rings on each finger. Once he caught sight of a heavy pendent earring dripping with more gems. So much jewelry was incongruous with her dress and the morbid occasion. As he studied the woman he noticed that the dress was skintight and could easily serve double duty as an evening gown. He could easily see she was a brassy blond. The overly be-ringed hand bothered him, it stirred a memory, and he knew he'd seen it before. He knew the gems were cheap fakes; he'd held the hand and looked at them.

Suddenly he coughed and raised his hand to cover his mouth. He keyed his microphone open and turned away from the woman before she recognized him behind his sunglasses. "One o'clock, near the corner column, the broad crying is the kids' stepmother. She definitely shouldn't be here."

Joe answered, "Got her. Noah, get over behind her let her faint. Be ready to catch her Vince, then be very sure she is."

"I'm already sure. What do I do with her?"

"You and Noah take her to the house. Keep her out Noah, we'll chat with her after the service, if it ever ends."

Noah walked around the inside of the circled mourners wearing a look of Boy Scout concern for the lonely tearful woman. He stood beside her, looked up at her sympathetically and asked, "Are you all right Miss?" His hand went to her shoulder, then the back of her neck, "You look like you're ready to faint."

Vincent paused to whisper to Patrick that there was a problem before he melted into the crowd, and walked quickly behind them when he was clear. By the time he reached the side of the mausoleum Noah was waiting for him with the inert woman in his arms. He lifted the veil for a second then dropped it. "Its her just like I said," he reported before Noah handed her off and they started walking behind the crowd until they reached the gravel path back to the house.

"Take her to the armory," Joe instructed. Vincent and Noah looked at each other, both shrugged, Noah asked. "Its on the lower level. Look for stairs going down, you'll find a pool, a gym, the wine cellar and the armory. It was the Don's study, his favorite room."

When Joe walked in the armory thirty minutes later he found Thelma stretched out on a sofa with her eyes closed, she looked dead. Noah and Vincent were chatting together like two old friends. Joe frowned and felt her limp wrist for a pulse. "She ain't dead," Vincent assured Joe. "She woke up when I was frisking her. Noah here put her under a little deeper." Joe patted Thelma's cheek and got no response. "You want her awake? Here let me," Vincent's hand flashed out in an arc. The back of his fingers connected with a loud smack. Thelma's eyes fluttered open; her hand went to the pain stinging her cheek. "There," Vincent smiled happily and winked at Noah. "We should go into business, you put 'em to sleep and I wake 'em up."

Thelma focused on Vincent, "YOU!" she snapped belligerently, though her eyes betrayed her fear before she turned aggressive. "When my husband gets here to take custody of his sons, he'll have the peons beat the shit out of you."

"Your husband, how do you know he's coming here?" Joe asked with a straight face. Vincent turned away to hide his grin, while Noah looked between the two men wearing a frown.

Thelma hesitated, "Because I talked to him last night on the phone. We still love each other and he's getting a divorce so we can marry again legally this time." She grinned, "Then we get on with the big job of really being parents to his boys."

"Don't you mean the big job of plundering their estates? Where would you do your parenting?" Joe looked around the vaulted room, "This would do I guess, the door is four inches thick, there's no windows, of course you'd have to haul away all these nasty weapons, but that would be because you wouldn't want the twins playing with them and of course the collection is worth a king's ransom." Thelma looked slowly around the room for the first time her eyes glittered with avarice.

"Say," Vincent snapped his fingers, "where's your mommy dearest. Is she still in the crowd somewhere?" He giggled, "You know that old bitch had two hundred fucking pounds of gold stashed in one suitcase? Like we wouldn't find it when we searched!" He broke into laughter, "And then this dizzy broad had what she stole all in diamonds in a baggy stuffed up her train tunnel pussy!" He pulled a rubber glove from his coat pocket, "Like I wouldn't find them there neither," he said pulling the glove on then flexing his hand. He grinned at Thelma, "Now where'd you say your bitch mother is?"

Thelma crossed her legs; "Mother is waiting in the car, looking for Kevin to arrive," she told them quickly with her eyes glued to Vincent's gloved hand.

Joe looked at Noah, "Hey choir boy, would you go find her? Tell her that her daughter found Kevin here and they're waiting for her. If she doesn't buy that, well its really hot today, let her faint too."

Noah grinned, "Sure I'll get her. What does she look like Vince?"

Vincent shrugged, "Just like this, just add a hundred years, forty pounds and an inch or two of makeup."

Noah returned escorting a shabbily overdressed edition of Thelma. She stopped at the door when she recognized Vincent. She took one step backward into Noah's hand on her neck. The woman collapsed where she stood. Thelma started to scream. Vincent put her to sleep with a fist in the side of her head. He giggled at Noah, "I bet you didn't know I could do that trick too."

Noah grinned, "You just need to work on your finesse. Now what boss?" He asked Joe.

Joe smiled at Vincent; "They're your problem Vince, now that you work for the twins. What would you do with them?"

"Well," Vincent started pondering the problem by rubbing his chin, "If I never laid eyes on 'em before, I'd say just kick their asses off the place and forget 'em. But since I met 'em and know 'em a little as greedy bitches that ain't never goin' away, I'd be inclined to just whack both and plant 'em deep somewhere out in the dessert." Joe nodded and started out the door. Vincent stopped him by continuing, "However since I was in on that business with you guys and the old Don when he nutted the so called husband and definitely the father of young Toby and Terry and now also I guess the other kid Diego, busy dick head that guy,"

"Just tell us what you want done with them for Christ's sake, Vincent!" Joe demanded, but was wearing a grin.

"Well I was just thinkin', if it could be arranged, it would be kind of neat to take 'em to that hospital where you got the guy and his jar of nuts stashed and just let 'em live together, day in and day out. Would that work do ya think?" Vincent nodded hopefully, willing Joe to agree.

Joe burst out laughing, "Man you should have been a judge. I wish I could be there when they wake up together. Okay, let's get Doug's Doctor down here to give them shots to put them out for a while. Tonight after dark get them to San Diego, use the Leer some of you guys came down here in to fly them to Oakland. I'll have an ambulance from the sanitarium meet them. Make their car disappear and send a moving van to wherever they live. This needs to look like they moved out with no forwarding address. They need to vanish without a trace."

Vincent nodded, "Consider it done." He headed for the door, a man on a mission.

"Oh Vince," Joe stopped him, "we're all bailing out of here for home tomorrow morning so we may not see you and the Fair brothers until its time for school. You really did good job spotting her, thanks. You'll really need some special help out here keeping track of the kids. I'll ask Will to send you some names. You can interview them, or look around and find some guys you can trust, they need to be gay or at least liberal minded enough to ignore whatever they see and then of course not talk about it outside the family."

Vincent frowned, "Where am I going to find queers, ah sorry, I mean gay guys in our line of work?"

"You could always ask them, there are more of us around than you can imagine." Joe answered.

Dieter woke up with the feeling he was suffocating when Mutt and Jeff flew down to their perch and entered the early morning screeching contest with the rest of the birds. He was lying on his back, Tommy was laying on top of him using his shoulder as a pillow held there by Charlie and Kevin, asleep and pasted to each side facing him, each with an unconscious arm over Tommy's back. He woke Tommy first by blowing in his hair and Kevin and Charlie by hugging them closer then running his hands over their backs.

Dieter could feel the whereabouts of their morning erections. His was standing up between Tommy's legs, Tommy's was pressed into his gut and those of the other two boys were somehow sandwiched between he and Tommy's bodies. The boys' first thrusts were involuntary, made easy by residual oil. There were yawns and flickering eyelids before the thrusting became intentional.

Tommy closed his legs on Dieter and pulled his arms in to raise his upper body with his sharp elbows poking Dieter's chest. He greeted Dieter with a pleased happy smile. He mouthed "Good morning," distinctly then lowered his lips to Dieter's before Dieter could answer. Dieter accepted the kiss; returned it, then pushed Tommy away after freeing his arms from under the other two boys' bodies. "Enough already guys. You'll kill me. What are you a tag team?"

Tommy giggled and hunched his shoulders without thinking of the consequences until both birds made a messy landing on his back. One of Mutt's wings beat the back of Tommy's head while the other knocked Jeff flat. Jeff squawked a protest and hopped to perch on one of Tommy's hard little ass cheeks to get out of Mutt's range. Jeff cast a hungry eye at the turgid head of Dieter's cock when it appeared, then disappeared as Tommy continued to stroke it by moving his hips. Jeff cocked his head and opened his long banana bill. Kevin and Charlie sat up when they heard the hollow click caused by Jeff snapping at the plum colored fruit before it again vanished between Tommy's legs.

"Hey! That dumb bird thinks you're playing a game with his breakfast, Dieter's cock! That's a riot!" Kevin screamed with laughter, "Go ahead Tom-tom send it up again so he can grab it, we'll see what happens."

Dieter raised his head to look over Tommy's shoulder, down his back to Jeff just as the bird plunged its beak between the boy's legs fishing for the elusive fruit. Dieter screamed followed by Tommy and the birds when the three of them went flying after Dieter bucked and used his hands to throw Tommy off into Charlie. The birds stayed air born, squawked and retreated to their perches.

Kevin told the others at length how the banana beaked bird tried to eat the head of Dieter's cock for breakfast while they ate their own breakfast. Charlie kept interrupting to embellish the story amid constant laughter at Dieter's expense. The birds sat comfortably on Tommy's shoulders nodding eagerly as he shared his fresh fruit compote with them and ignored the juice from the assorted melon balls and mashed dropped debris that ran down his body. Tommy laughed and nodded to confirm the story as the truth when the others questioned him.

Curt joined them early and waited until everyone was nearly finished before he issued orders for the day's activities. "Today most of you are going to learn how to dive," he announced from the end of the long table, "except you, you, you and you," he pointed to four boys. "You guys stay right here by the pool for swimming lessons, as soon as you can swim then you learn to dive. Four of Wally's guys will be here shortly to teach you." He pointed to Kevin, Charlie and Tommy, "You three will go with Dieter and I on the Doog, you'll learn to dive with scuba, and the onboard air system, then how to get in and out of the airlock when we're submerged. The rest of you will be going out on the dive boat, you'll learn how to dive, explore some of the reef, and then fish for dinner tonight before you come back."

Someone muttered, "The bosses pets."

Dieter frowned at the boy, "That's right, for today, three others will get your turn on the sub tomorrow until you all get a chance to dive from Doog. Someone has to be first and it's my choice."

Curt stood up to glare up and down the table when he saw frowns. "This is not a democracy guys. The sub can't handle large groups for diving, three or four maximum. If anyone is really upset they can report to their cottage and spend the day learning to keep their mouths shut."

Kyle changed the subject intentionally; "Hey can we also collect more conch while we're down there? Those fritters last night were super good. I could eat them everyday."

Kevin snickered, "Yeah asshole, we all liked them after we ate three or four before we found out what we were eating." All the boys laughed at themselves and agreed.

Tommy said something to Charlie, he relayed the message; "Tommy says that Miss Emma, the cook, promised she'd make conch chowder if we bring in enough someday. Can we catch some too to be sure she has enough?"

Dieter and Curt nodded together. "Sure," Dieter agreed, and added, "speaking of Miss Emma, a smart sailor would take the time to find the kitchen and thank her occasionally. Tell her what a great cook she is. I think you might find out how well she can bake too."

There was a minor stampede into the kitchen after breakfast, all except Tommy, he shooed the birds when he felt a knurdle of Jeff's shit running down his back, then scooted to the shower by the pool to wash off before he dove in the water cleanly to do a quick lap. He met the others in the hallway coming from the kitchen, each of them carrying a hamper or ice chest, food and drink for the day's adventure. When Tommy returned to the little truck he carried a sack containing more fruit for the birds and a large round cookie tin. He opened the tin in front of Charlie and Kevin after he made sure that everyone else departed for the dock. The tin was full of cookies.

Charlie giggled, "Man what an ass kisser you are! You just smile and bat your baby blues and look so innocent and helpless, and you walk away with a ton of cookies." He hugged Tommy with one arm while his other hand dove into the tin for a sample. Tommy allowed each, including Dieter and Curt to have one before he closed the lid and placed it carefully on the seat between he and Dieter.

When Dieter tried to open the tin for another cookie, Tommy slapped his hand away with a laugh. "Lunch!" he enunciated clearly, then, "Where to?"

"Back to the cottage, we need to get super clean." Dieter answered with a blush.

Charlie and Kevin sat on the tailgate. Kevin turned to Dieter's back, "Hey Dieter, did you ever taste dolphin cum?" Dieter didn't answer but his color deepened. Kevin grinned, "Cool!" He hugged Charlie tight against his body, "Just don't get too attached to whatever your dolphin gives you little buddy, I have plans."

Charlie reached into Kevin's lap and held his erection lovingly, "That goes the same for me too, this will be dessert."

Will and Billie didn't remember leaving Anton and Bucky alone in the sitting room. They suddenly looked up from the checks each held and found themselves standing in the empty quiet hallway, leaning against each other for support. "I thought it was fifty thousand until I read the written amount," Will mumbled.

"At least you stayed quiet, I suggested aloud that it was just a bloody fucking joke and a poor one at that," Billie laughed nervously.

"What will you do with yours? I wonder where Joe is? He'll never believe this."

"My darling Dieter will feint dead away when I tell him. I think we might build a proper manor house on Dagger Cay. We'll live comfortably on a grand scale of course and continue working for Evan after dear Anton passes, that goes without saying. I must say your Bucky's frowns are most disconcerting."

Will agreed with a chuckle, "We've noticed. I don't think we'd retire anyway, there's too much to do and we're having too much fun. They did qualify our retirement though, we can if we can find worthy replacements."

"True there is that. Would I be conceited if I said I don't know of anyone just now that capable? We work well as a team; you suggested a brilliant plan of action,"

"And you had and have the balls to implement it." Will finished Billie's sentence, "Without discussing it with Anton first. That was very dangerous. He seems to be the type of man to reward success by handing out a fifty million dollar bonus happily, but if we lost him so much as one thin dime," Will shuddered, "its really hard to swim when your body is diced into a hundred pieces."

Billie shrugged, "You my very dear chap are far too conservative, that's why we make such a good team, I'm sometimes a tiny bit impetuous."

Will administered a bone-crushing hug with one arm around Billie's shoulders while they walked toward the twins' suite listening for sounds of laughter. Will chuckled, "A master of understatement too!"

"I say, shall we tell the others?"

"Are you kidding? There are damn few secrets in this family, Buck probably already knows and Anton will tell Evan if he can hold him down long enough."

"Family," Billie mused, "I like the sound of that. We are aren't we?" He giggled with his hand on the doorknob just as they heard a babble of voices mixed with peels of laughter.

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